Adam was born and raised in the great state of Washington. A lifetime of love for the natural world led him to study Conservation Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle, earning a BS in 2015. Coupling his interests with a passion for adventure, he has worked in habitat restoration in the Ecuadorian Amazon, earned a permaculture certification in Costa Rica, worked on organic farms in locations ranging from Belize to New Zealand, and was most recently part of an eco-friendly landscaping crew in Portland, Oregon. Hands-on experience in a wide variety of ecosystems has given him a strong background in sustainable land management and ecological principles, which he now brings with him to his restoration work in the canyon.
He relocated to Orange County in late 2017 and his three favorite things are:
- Ginkgo Trees
Alan is the Restoration Program Director and oversees the Habitat Restoration, Fuel Modification and Trail Stewardship work that LCF does in and around the South Coast Wilderness. In the five years since Alan joined LCF, this program has grown from one part-time employee to a team of eight, and from managing a few projects to over twenty projects impacting nearly 200 acres. Alan has always been passionate about the outdoors and has spent a decent chunk of his life living and working there, including leading wilderness expeditions, wildland firefighting, practicing and teaching primitive skills, working on backcountry trail crews and researching the effects of prescribed fire and mechanical thinning on forest ecosystems. When he’s not at work, he can generally be found spending time with his two incredibly wonderful daughters, in his shop building knives, or geeking out on science fiction, historical weapons, martial arts or maker culture.
As a Restoration Technician, Alyssa works with the restoration team and restores disturbed habitats by planting native species and removing invasive plants. To some, working outdoors 40 hours a week may seem rough, but for Alyssa, it’s the best thing about her job. She feels most at home outdoors and strives to help protect and restore wilderness areas for others to enjoy for generations to come. She earned her Bachelors’ Degree in Kinesiology from California State University Long Beach, but eventually found her passion for conservation and restoration through the California Conservation Corps (CCC) where she lived out of a tent for six months doing trail work in the remote backcountry of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. She also worked with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and built trails at 12,000 feet on Mt. Columbia, one of Colorado’s 58 “fourteeners.” A self-proclaimed “master of none,” Alyssa also is a freelance graphic designer, plays several instruments and is an avid snowboarder.
As Laguna Canyon Foundation’s Trail Outreach Coordinator, Antonio is both doing major dirt work on the trails and reaching out to the community about trail stewardship. If you join any of our trail volunteer days, you will be working side by side with Antonio. A graduate of Humboldt State, Antonio loves backpacking, the ocean and spending time with his wife, Norma and her family. Antonio is currently getting his NAUI certification and is committed to improving his broken Spanish.
Trading his rubber boots for hiking boots, craft beer brewer Chris is now spending his time in the coastal sage scrub habitat as a Restoration Technician. A graduate from Arizona State University with a BS is Biological Sciences, Chris is currently attending ASU as an MS student in Biomimicry and Oregon State University focusing on ecology. Constantly curious, Chris proudly considers himself a generalist and believes that a sustainable future, one that accounts for social health, environmental health and economic health is one that is possible through shared knowledge, inclusion and grassroots organization.
Corey has lived in southern California for most of his life, other than a brief stay in the Bay Area where he attended California State University, East Bay earning a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and a Certificate in Cartography and GIS. Professionally, he has conducted surveys for the federally endangered Pacific Pocket Mouse and federally threatened Coastal California Gnatcatcher, which has pushed him to continue conservation within the environmental field. In his free time, Corey loves catching waves at the beach, watching Anaheim Ducks hockey, and quoting his favorite show The Office any chance he gets.
Derek is the Outreach and Development Director and works towards managing LCF’s marketing and community efforts along with the volunteer, education, and fundraising programs. He studied Natural Resource Management in his home state of Louisiana, graduating from the University of New Orleans. His career has ranged from leading adventure treks through the Atchafalaya Swamp, engaging with global communities on environmental and food justice issues, and educating the public through interpretive programming throughout Orange County’s coast and open spaces! When he isn’t working, Derek can generally be found near the ocean, hiking through open spaces in Orange County, or in the Sierras camping, backpacking, or fly fishing! He also loves to travel to new areas of California with his wife whenever they have the opportunity- most people say he’s seen more of California in his 5 years here than what many locals see in a lifetime!
Dulce Cortez is a first year restoration technician. Dulce graduated from Humboldt State University earning a bachelor’s degree in Ecological Restoration and is currently earning a GIS certificate online through CSU Fullerton. She fell in love with the coastal sage scrub native vegetation when she volunteered a summer at the Santiago Creek Nature Center in Santa Ana during her undergrad. Her favorite native plant is white sage (Salvia apiana). She loves to hike with her dog Khaleesi, having multiple cups of coffee, watching her favorite shows the Office and Game of Thrones and hanging out with her family.
Erika graduated from Doane University with a degree in Environmental Science and Biology. While she was in college she also was a part of the softball team. Erika loves this job because she loves being outside and leaning how to become a better naturalist by observing the environment around her. Being a restoration technician is her true calling. Erika has also done restoration work for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands in Marina Del Rey. When she is not working, Erika enjoys working out, going to the record store, and hanging out with her dog Shaggy (who is her best friend). A fun fact about Erika is that she is somewhat ambidextrous!
Hallie is the Executive Director of Laguna Canyon Foundation. She heads up LCF’s advocacy efforts, fundraises, and makes sure staff have the tools and resources to do their jobs. She was born and raised in Laguna Canyon. After a brief stint in Washington DC and almost fifteen years in Los Angeles working in marine conservation for Heal the Bay, she joined Laguna Canyon Foundation in 2013. Hallie lives in Laguna with Atticus the lab and her two kids, some of whom enjoy camping, hiking and being outdoors just as much as she does. She loves good beer, and according to her kids, her favorite food is kale.
Jacky is Senior Director of Operations and focuses on resource management, systems integration, strategic planning, budgeting and Laguna Canyon Foundation’s JEDI program. Jacky came from OC Parks where she served for more than 15 years in several roles, including Park Ranger at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Parks Division Manager overseeing a third of field operations. Her biggest career accomplishments were enhancing the Park Ranger Academy and creating the Park Ranger Field Training Program. She thrives in discovering how to improve processes with creative solutions. Jacky’s passion is connecting people to the wilderness and sharing her appreciation of our incredible open space. She loves backpacking as light as possible, running and hot yoga, favorite pose Shavasana. Jacky tries to stay active and centered to help her keep up with her two young very active children.
Kaitlyn works to restore Laguna Canyon’s habitats through the planting of native species and removal of invasive plants. Kaitlyn obtained her B.S. in Environmental Studies, with minors in Environmental Restoration and Biology, from San Jose State University. Her passion for stewardship began at a young age through family travel and exploration. Kaitlyn further fostered her love for the outdoors through work experience with USFWS at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and NPS at Glacier National Park. In her free time, she loves to travel, hike, slackline, paddleboard, and thrift at local stores. Kaitlyn’s favorite food is anything that has to do with potatoes.
Paula likes to say she worked her entire career for this job. Using both her corporate background and her hiking boots, Paula balances her time between crunching numbers and working in the wilderness. Paula lives along a canyon in Laguna Beach with her husband, Brian, and their two rescue dogs, Reggae and Joan Miró. Off the trails, she is commissioner of her Family Fantasy Football League, Bad Shrimp, and her favorite yoga pose is Lizard.
Robin likes to describe her job as a glorified landscaper. Her favorite part of the season is planting, which starts each November. Every day is filled with new experiences, including seeing many kinds of wildlife. Robin is currently attending Cal State Long Beach to earn a degree in Environmental Geography, furthering her knowledge in the field she’s so passionate account. She loves adventuring outdoors in her free time, from hiking to camping to rock climbing. She’s been told people hear her before they see her.
Quote from Robin: “I love plant.”
Ryan studied Agriculture Science at The California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where one of his proudest moments while attending was hand-picking hundreds of pounds of produce on the campus farm. He says that he will always be a student and strives to never stop learning what life has to teach, especially with help from his generously knowledgeable team-members. Being born and raised in South OC, Ryan has always had a deep curiosity toward nature and is now overwhelmingly grateful for playing a part in an organization that strives to protect it. Outside of work, Ryan may be seen passing by on his bicycle, in the kitchen experimenting with plant-based foods, or attempting to tame his ferocious kitten Mariposa.
Sara is the resource coordinator, handling all the administrative flow between different departments of Laguna Canyon Foundation. Sara enjoys connecting with all the people who make up LCF: the employees, board, outside partners, volunteers, and the community. Originally from Laguna Beach, Sara is a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and sustainable development. She has a BS in Biology from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in Applied Ecology & Conservation at the University of East Anglia (UK). Sara spent 6 years overseas, studying and working in the UK, Germany, Portugal, France, Ecuador, and Mauritius. In her free time, Sara enjoys live music and karaoke, running, and traveling. She will likely be the first person you see when you come into LCF Headquarters, come by and say hi!
As Operations and Communications Director, Theresa manages the administrative side of Laguna Canyon Foundation’s work. She handles the organization’s finances, human resources, IT, and copyediting – if it doesn’t fall under someone else’s job description, it’s probably her responsibility! Theresa’s passion for conservation brought her to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management. When she’s not saving the planet through the magic of bookkeeping, Theresa enjoys baking, reading, and patiently explaining the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek to anyone who will listen.
Want to know more?
Come to one of our events and chat with staff and volunteers. We’d love to meet you.